Leon Goretzka says Bayern Munich are in confident mood heading towards a Champions League last-16 showdown with Chelsea, with the German giants determined to mount a challenge for the ultimate prize.
An early exit was suffered from elite European competition last season, with eventual winners Liverpool sending them packing.
Having reached four semi-finals in five years prior to that since their last success back in 2013, Bayern are eager to make a serious impact on the grandest of stages.
Tackling Premier League opposition once again will not be easy, but Goretzka is feeling positive ahead of a two-legged tie with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
He told Goal and SPOX: “We want to go further than last year, when we immediately got the winner in the round of 16.
“I was very happy about the draw, Chelsea is an attractive opponent. We are confident that we can do it.”
Hansi Flick will still be calling the shots at Bayern when a trip to Stamford Bridge is taken in on February 25, with the interim coach having been given the reins through to the end of the season.
“He works very meticulously, very calmly and with a high level of social competence,” Goretzka said of a coach who picked up a baton dropped by Niko Kovac in November.
“He looks for discussions with the players and gives everyone a good feeling. It works very well at the moment.”
Pressed on whether Flick could be handed a permanent contract, Goretzka added: “Of course I can imagine that. I've known him for a very, very long time and I think he can do it.”
Champions League progress would aid Flick’s claims to an extended stay, while an eighth successive Bundesliga title could yet be secured by Bayern – despite sitting four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig at present.
Asked how those at the Allianz Arena intend to close that gap, Goretzka said: “By playing a good game against Leipzig.
“The season is still very long and there are still a lot of points to get. I don't think Leipzig will win every game in the second half of the season.
“We have to collect our points and do our job. I think it's realistic that we can still do it.”
Once the current campaign comes to a close, then Bayern will welcome another fresh face into their squad.
An agreement has been reached to acquire 23-year-old goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, a player Goretzka knows well from his time at Schalke.
“I think Alex is a top goalkeeper, that was what he was like when he came to Schalke from Paderborn,” said the Germany international playmaker.
“It quickly became clear that he was also mentally strong. That is the basic requirement to make it at Bayern.
“It is certainly not easy to displace a top Bundesliga keeper like Ralf Fahrmann. He has proven at Schalke that he can handle pressure situations. That's what you would expect from a modern goalkeeper. I met him as a very, very good goalkeeper, with a clear head and clear thoughts.”
Goretzka added on Nubel: “He strives for the maximum and in Germany there is nothing above FC Bayern.“Accordingly, he intends to play for the best German club and the step is therefore logical in my mind.”